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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:18 am 
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fallingblood wrote:
MadNuke wrote:
Anyone who can make a living out of magic. edited, anyone who can get GOOD at magic, who can perform for months straight is in it for MUCH more then the wealth. The vast majority of performing magicians are middle class.
Actually, magic is very profitable. I've heard one figure that says on average, a professional magician makes $100,000-$300,000 a year. The key word there is professional though. Many magicians who are making money are semi-professionals, who do it for an extra source of income.

First of all if that is indeed the average (which I doubt) it is thrown completely off by people like Lance Burton and Copperfield who make millions. Making a living off of magic is in no way easy, especially for close-up performers.

Let's assume you get $200 a gig (not including tip[s]).
100,000/200= 500 gigs
500 gigs is doable for your standard platform/birthday performer but it is very tiring.
300000/200= 1500 gigs
This works out to over 4 shows a day which is next to impossible if you factor in travel, set up and show time.

I would say a reasonable estimate for your average pro would be $50,000 which is 250 gigs (assuming the same as above) and definitely achievable.

However, any way you look at it, making a living in the performing arts is hard. As someone who has worked in performing arts for most of my life, it isn't easy to get clients.

Now you're probably wondering about corporate shows and touring theater shows.
Corporate- This can be a hard marked to get into. You may have to travel quite a distance to shows.
Trade shows- See above. Also your on your feet all day performing for 8, 10 or more hours a day for a week. If that isn't tiring than what is...alright a marathon. Plus you may be away from your family and home for a week.
Touring performers- Life on the road is tiring and some people don't like being away from their home and family for weeks or months. Plus, you have to make a large initial investment

Personally I too think the button is tacky however it pays the bills. Paddy is making a living off of his dream and I think that looking tacky is a small price for doing what you love.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:44 am 
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Thanks for the additional input, JL. I tend to lean towards your side of the argument, as I insinuated by using median instead of average [where incredibly high outliers exist].


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 1:05 am 
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MadNuke wrote:
Really? That's interesting, thank you for informing me.

It just seems that, if you took everyone over 18 who performs magic as a sole occupation [kids birthday parties, schools, etc.], the mean, or rather -- median income wouldn't be more than $100,000. I suppose performance arts are more profitable than I thought. I mean, of course Lance Burton and David Copperield are multimillionaires, but most guys who do parties and weddings, etc. wouldn't make a whole lot?

Does anyone else have input?
I believe it was Paul Daniels who actually said that. I believe I read it in one of his works.

Making a good living off of magic is hard. However, if you work at it, like you should, you will make a lot. Let's look at restaurant magicians. They get paid a couple hundred night. With tips, let's say like $300. Now, that's not your only source of income. You could stop right there, and live off of that money. However, restaurant magic is usually used to gain larger shows. So that adds to your income as well.

Above all of that, you can also be doing promotional magic, hotel magic, corporate magic, trade show magic, busking, stage shows, etc. It all comes down to marketing your show. For instance, with me, this year I made enough that I could take a few months off to help my mom (who went through surgery for cancer) and then also help my grandma (who also found out that she had cancer, nothing too serious in both cases). Last year I ended up having to take a few months off as well, so I could move after my house burnt down. This profession allows me to deal with the larger things that come around, without worrying about if I'll have enough money to make it through the week, or month.

So yeah, the average income for a magician is quite high. You just have to market yourself. It's a lot of work though, I won't lie about it. I spend 40+ hours a week working on all of this stuff. It's a full time job. You have to contact a lot of people (especially at the beginning). You have to meet with a lot of people. There's a lot of paper work. I mean, you're running a business. But if you do it right, it will be a successful business.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 6:40 pm 
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RealMagic_JL wrote:
Quote:
Let's assume you get $200 a gig (not including tip[s]).
100,000/200= 500 gigs
500 gigs is doable for your standard platform/birthday performer but it is very tiring.
300000/200= 1500 gigs
This works out to over 4 shows a day which is next to impossible if you factor in travel, set up and show time.

OK, let's start off with your first mistake JL. Remember the word "assume" is spelled that way because to "assume" you make an "A$$" out of "U" and "ME."

Your initial assumption is wrong. If you only work restaurants and kiddie parties that would be accurate. However, every professional magi that I know also does corporate and trade show work. I won't tell anyone what my fees are but I will tell you of a magi I know in Chicago. He was marketing himself and wound up with Pepsi Cola asking him to quote a price for a trade show at Macormic (not spelled right I know) Place in Chicago. He gave them a price of $3500 a day, no expences because he was local. He did not get the job. So he called his Pepsi contact and asked him bluntly "why didn't I get it?" The answer? "When my boss say your price he told me 'anyone that cheap can't be good enough for us."

Trade shows last between 3 to 6 days. You figure out how many you need to get up to only $100,000.00 a year. Corporate shows are the same thing. They won't even blink if your only $1000 an hour. But the reall a44 kicker is BUSKING. Gazzo, Kosmo, Danny Hustle, and several full time buskers that I work with average over $150,000 a year. It is not unusual for a busker to hat $75 to $100 for a quick sidewalk show and $300 for a circle show. Figure 3 sidewalk shows an hour or 1 circle show every 45 minutes. The only day off when busking I take is Monday, because I need one sanity day a week and Monday is the slowest day.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:55 am 
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Magic can be a very lucrative business but you need to be good with your magic and VERY GOOD with your business skills. These days, I only perform on a part-time professional basis (my full time job is being a lawyer). Last year, I had just slightly over 180 paid gigs and made over $40,000.00. Not too bad for a part-time job.

As far as tips go, I don't do anything to solicit tips, but I do accept them graciously when offered. When I do get a tip, I discretely give it back to the waiter/waitress who was serving that table. The wait staff don't share their tips at the end of each night and so, what they get, they keep. This creates a HUGE DEMAND for me by the wait staff since they know I can add to their bottom line. The staff literally become my marketing tools for both customers and management.

Now, I'm not in any way trying to say that this is the only way to do thins. This is simply the way I do it, and it works very well for me. I know of others who actively solicit tips in the course of their routine (ie. by "borrowing" a five dollar bill from a spectator during their final effect) and others who don't accept tips at all.

Kent


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:25 pm 
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fallingblood wrote:
MadNuke wrote:
Really? That's interesting, thank you for informing me.

It just seems that, if you took everyone over 18 who performs magic as a sole occupation [kids birthday parties, schools, etc.], the mean, or rather -- median income wouldn't be more than $100,000. I suppose performance arts are more profitable than I thought. I mean, of course Lance Burton and David Copperield are multimillionaires, but most guys who do parties and weddings, etc. wouldn't make a whole lot?

Does anyone else have input?
I believe it was Paul Daniels who actually said that. I believe I read it in one of his works.

Making a good living off of magic is hard. However, if you work at it, like you should, you will make a lot. Let's look at restaurant magicians. They get paid a couple hundred night. With tips, let's say like $300. Now, that's not your only source of income. You could stop right there, and live off of that money. However, restaurant magic is usually used to gain larger shows. So that adds to your income as well.

Above all of that, you can also be doing promotional magic, hotel magic, corporate magic, trade show magic, busking, stage shows, etc. It all comes down to marketing your show. For instance, with me, this year I made enough that I could take a few months off to help my mom (who went through surgery for cancer) and then also help my grandma (who also found out that she had cancer, nothing too serious in both cases). Last year I ended up having to take a few months off as well, so I could move after my house burnt down. This profession allows me to deal with the larger things that come around, without worrying about if I'll have enough money to make it through the week, or month.

So yeah, the average income for a magician is quite high. You just have to market yourself. It's a lot of work though, I won't lie about it. I spend 40+ hours a week working on all of this stuff. It's a full time job. You have to contact a lot of people (especially at the beginning). You have to meet with a lot of people. There's a lot of paper work. I mean, you're running a business. But if you do it right, it will be a successful business.


[typing with on-screen keyboard]

My mother and grandmother passed away due to cancer; good on you for spending time.

Thanks to fallingblood, Paddy, and others for insight into magic as a lucrative business. Very much appreciated.

I'll post more when I've got a keyboard!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:54 pm 
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paddy wrote:
RealMagic_JL wrote:
Quote:
Let's assume you get $200 a gig (not including tip[s]).
100,000/200= 500 gigs
500 gigs is doable for your standard platform/birthday performer but it is very tiring.
300000/200= 1500 gigs
This works out to over 4 shows a day which is next to impossible if you factor in travel, set up and show time.

OK, let's start off with your first mistake JL. Remember the word "assume" is spelled that way because to "assume" you make an "A$$" out of "U" and "ME."

Your initial assumption is wrong. If you only work restaurants and kiddie parties that would be accurate. However, every professional magi that I know also does corporate and trade show work. I won't tell anyone what my fees are but I will tell you of a magi I know in Chicago. He was marketing himself and wound up with Pepsi Cola asking him to quote a price for a trade show at Macormic (not spelled right I know) Place in Chicago. He gave them a price of $3500 a day, no expences because he was local. He did not get the job. So he called his Pepsi contact and asked him bluntly "why didn't I get it?" The answer? "When my boss say your price he told me 'anyone that cheap can't be good enough for us."

Trade shows last between 3 to 6 days. You figure out how many you need to get up to only $100,000.00 a year. Corporate shows are the same thing. They won't even blink if your only $1000 an hour. But the reall a44 kicker is BUSKING. Gazzo, Kosmo, Danny Hustle, and several full time buskers that I work with average over $150,000 a year. It is not unusual for a busker to hat $75 to $100 for a quick sidewalk show and $300 for a circle show. Figure 3 sidewalk shows an hour or 1 circle show every 45 minutes. The only day off when busking I take is Monday, because I need one sanity day a week and Monday is the slowest day.

Paddy your absolutely right! My apologies. It was a poor assumption and I should have thought over my post; especially since it was after 2 am and I wasn't thinking. However, my experience has been that there far more professional magicians who are squeaking by than living comfortably on a six or seven digit salary. But, maybe I've somehow missed a large number of magicians.

I completely agree that busking about busking. It's hard but eventually it pays off.

Quote:
every professional magi that I know also does corporate and trade show work

That's interesting because I my experience has been very different. While I do know people who travel around the country (and world) doing magic for corporations and theaters, the majority of magicians I've met, worked with etc. don't. Yes, trade shows are incredibly lucrative, however there are some magicians who don't want to do them (and not because their not good enough). Some magicians are single, don't have families, don't mind living out of a suitcase for a week, don't want to be on their feet all day etc. and that's great. But some magicians have families that they want to be with and aren't able to travel or spend all day at trade shows.

Once again, my apologies. Not saying my points are right, just adding my 2 cents to the discussion.
J


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:48 am 
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You bring up a lot of good points now JL. I have to agree that most magicians do not make a lot of money. However, it is because they choose not to go after the bigger jobs. There is more work out there than you can count it's just some of us go for it and others don't.

There are sacrifices that I make, like time with the grandkids, because my schedule is booked. But this is what I love to do, magic has repaid me plenty for all the time I spent (and still spend) on learning new things, writing my act to fit a certain audience and other things we do behind the scenes. Hey I have only been professioinal for 10 years now and if I can make a good living at it then anyone can. You just have to work at it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:09 pm 
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paddy wrote:
OK, let's start off with your first mistake JL. Remember the word "assume" is spelled that way because to "assume" you make an "A$$" out of "U" and "ME."


Hey man I think you're going to need another saying, you know, preferably one that isn't 100+ years old. The reason is because I've long ago debunked this particular adage. When you form the word "assume" what you're really doing is making an "assume" out of "a s s", "u" and "me". But going with the typical view, the more proper "Assui" would be applicable, insofar as you'd be making an a s s out of you and [the grammatically correct] I. So don't assui anything. However, also with the view that you could only personally object to him making an a s s out of yourself, perhaps he should not assume (assui) and start assuming. That way he only makes an "a s s" out of "u" and some guy named "Ming". That way only Ming could rightfully protest.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:15 pm 
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DillWeed wrote:
the more proper "Assui" would be applicable, insofar as you'd be making an a s s out of you and [the grammatically correct] I.


Actually, no according to Lynch from the Rutgers University English department (slow day over here):

http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/b.html

Quote:
Between You and I.

Between you and I? — Between you and I? — You should be ashamed of yourself.

First, the technical explanation: between is a preposition; it should govern the "objective case." (In English, that's a concern only with the pronouns.) A preposition can't govern a pronoun in the subjective (or nominative) case, even when there are multiple pronouns after the preposition.

That explanation should be enough for the serious grammar nerds. For the rest of you, think of it this way: when you have two pronouns after a preposition, try mentally placing each one directly after the preposition. "Between you" should sound right to your ear, but "between I" jars: "between me" sounds much more natural. Since it's "between you" and it's "between me," it should be "between you and me."

Ditto other prepositions, like for, to, from, with, by, and so on. If something is for her and for me, it's "for her and me," not "for she and I"; if Akhbar gave something to him and to them, he gave it "to him and them," not "to he and they." Try putting the preposition directly before all the following pronouns, and then use the form that sounds right in each case.

The problem probably arises from hypercorrection: it sometimes seems that you and I is "more correct" than you and me. It's not — at least, it's not always. Be careful.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:03 am 
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haha very good point. while there is no mention of "between" in my post, it still highlights the fact that when in the objective sense, "me" should be used and when subjective, "I" should be used. The reverse error does come from hypercorrection as stated too. Also...it was a joke, but even jokes are subject to strict grammatical rules and have no room for poetic license at all.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 10:14 pm 
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Personally, I do not work just for tips and I'll tell ya why. Again, this is my own opinion. Folks know that they are going to tip the waitress or waiter...they don't need an added expence of tipping entertainment....maybe it's not in their budget. Besides..it cuts into the servers tips....or they feel it does..and you don't want to upset the staff either. Also I feel that all of the time, work, practice put into learning and preforming is worth more than a couple bucks per table..if you get that. So offer 1 hr free the first night to see how they like you..then, (if your new to table-hopping) set your fee at $25/hr for a 2 hr minimim...once a week or 2 times per month, what ever you can agree on to get your foot in the door. I personally like doing kids night. Restaurants do look for ways to be unique from others and magic may be it for you. Again, this is my own view from doing closeup as a paid gig for 10 yrs now. You will have people ask, "do you do parties?" SO this is a place to get contacts for bigger $$$ shows.
Magically,
Joseph


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 4:45 am 
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Joseph, no one mentioned working for tips alone, and one would have to pretty dumb to do that. I get a restaurant fee plus tips. Yes I wear tip buttons to let the customers know that I take tips. It is not unusual for weekend nights to bring in $100 to $200 in tips alone.

In every restaurant I wok, the servers all say the same thing, that their tips are higher when I am there. The reason is when people are having fun they are more generous. It is our job as entertainers to make sure that every person we see has a good time. As long as we do our job the servers love us.

As to working one night as an audition, I totally agree there. But ONE night only.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:16 am 
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Paddy, I apologize for my cluelessness :p but what are "tip buttons"?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:05 pm 
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DylanTolly wrote:
Paddy, I apologize for my cluelessness :p but what are "tip buttons"?


Buttons, preferably LARGE ones that let people know you accept tips. I have 2 of them each 3" in dia. One says "I WORK FOR TIPS" and the other is "SUGGESTED TIP $2435.80" I have seen others like "TIPPING IS NOT A CITY IN CHINA," and "DON'T TIP COWS, TIP ME." Just something that lets the public know that you want tips.

When working the streets (busking) along with my hat lines I put in something I learned from Gazzo. He yells out in a really loud voice "WATCH OUT HERE COMES THE CANADIANS" then in a softer voice, (not much softer that's for sure) he asks "Do you know the difference between a Canadian and a canoe? Canoes tip!"

You have to be really carefull with that one, you can offend some people. Well the offended ones are usually Canadian so who cares, they don't tip anyway." (a JOKE OK A JOKE)


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